PCP – 84

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He yanked his head to the side, making him pull against Damia’s grip and in doing so she pulled out some hair. Even though it must have been quite painful, Cesare did not grimace and twirled himself and her restrained body as if he was dancing.

By this point, Damia began to feel more fear than hatred. Cesare was getting worse and worse. Fortunately, there was another unexpected person here to stop him.

“Damia!”

As soon as she heard the voice, Damia doubted her ears.

Her head snapped around automatically. As soon as she confirmed the owner of the voice, a teary voice popped out of her mouth.

“Father·······!!!”

***

It was very awkward to sit around with the “family” and drink tea.

Noela was absent because Leon, Damia’s younger half-brother, had a cold. Therefore, Damia and Cesare were the only people sitting around the tea table with Owen Primula, the head of the family.

“Does the tea not suit your taste?”

“Oh, no.”

Damia shook her head at Owen’s worried question. Perhaps because she was nervous, she couldn’t even taste the tea. It was because Cesare was watching her from the other side of the table.

“Yes, Damia. You’re just as fragile as a young sprout. You have to eat well and get healthier.”

Cesare was wearing the mask of her older ‘brother’ pretending to be friendly. Then, he proceeded to give Damia his share of dessert that came out with today’s tea.

“Eat mine, too. Isn’t it your favorite?”

Damia looked down at the lemon cream cake he had pushed towards her. To be honest, she didn’t want to eat anything Cesare gave her. However, her father, Owen, was looking at the scene with warm eyes on the other side, so it was too awkward and rude to openly refuse.

“······Thank you. Brother,”

Damia, who smiled soullessly, replied pretentiously.

Owen smiled tenderly as he saw this, the wrinkles around his eyes creasing with happiness.

“Good, Dami. Thanks to your brother, you can eat more cake.”

Since her father was away from home for a long time, he did not understand the relationship between Damia and Cesare well.  However, he thought a brother with Damia would be much better than leaving his daughter alone in a large mansion everytime he traveled. It gave him comfort.

“How have you been? Have you been healthy? Have you been eating well?”

When she heard her father’s sweet question, Damia’s nose tingled as if she was going to cry. Even if his body was away because of business, it was clear that her father’s heart was always by her side.

Just as parents had their duties to provide, Damia felt it was her duty as the child to bring comfort to her absent parent. Therefore, she pretended all was fine even if it wasn’t fine and acted as if she was always happy even if she was lonely. It was his best thing she thought she could do for her father.

“Of course, father. I’ve been eating too much.”

Damia smiled brightly and then took a few bites of the cake to show my father. Owen smiled happily when he saw his daughter eating something.

‘It’s so nice to have Father. How many months has it been?’

He had gone on a business trip shortly after Leon was born, so it was almost a year ago.

Damia glanced at his father’s face with nostalgic eyes. She felt bad for him because he seemed to have had a hard time at work and his face became paler, rousing her sympathy.

“······How is your business these days?”

Damia brought up the question she had been worried about. As she knew, Akkard and the royal family were suspicious of the ‘Holy War’ and in particular, he seemed to think that the High Temple was related to the “pollution” situation in the south.

Damia had no choice but to worry about her father and family. Especially since he didn’t know his adopted son, Cesare, was working with the High Temple and behind the ‘Great War.’

“Ah, business. I was so busy recently that I even forgot to send you a letter. The whole kingdom is in turmoil because of pollution so everything is a mess.”

Fortunately, Owen didn’t consider his daughter’s question to have any other intentions. He smiled calmly, trying to cover up his fatigue by rubbing his slightly swollen cheeks.

“But thanks to Cesare coming and helping me, I was able to finish it earlier than scheduled and come back.”

Contrary to Owen’s words, Owen’s gaze at his stepson was somehow hazy. Then Cesare, who had been sitting calmly all the time, replied meaningfully.

“No, father. I was happy to have quality time amongst us men,” Cesare, who finished his speech, gave Owen an incredulous look.

The moment she saw this, Damie felt her heart throbbing in alarm.

“I’ll take a moment to see how Leon’s condition is. Take your time and talk.”

Cesare, who smiled politely, left for a moment. As if he had planned something with Owen in advance.

When he left, Owen wiped his face with a tired look. And he opened his mouth more carefully through his fingers.

“Hey, Damia. I want to ask you something. ·····.”

“What is it, father?”

She felt a little better as Cesare left. Damia asked her father back with a smile. 

“Recently…… It is said that you get along well with Lord Akkard of the Valerian Dukedom. Is that true?”

Damia’s smile cracked.

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